Billionaire Blend (A Coffeehouse Mystery) (8 page)

BOOK: Billionaire Blend (A Coffeehouse Mystery)
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1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Using an electric mixer, cream the softened butter. Add Baileys Irish Cream, vanilla extract, and 1 cup confectioners’ sugar. Beat until the sugar is dissolved. Scrape down the bowl, add 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, and beat until dissolved. Add the remaining 1 cup sugar and beat until smooth. If frosting is dry, add a bit more Irish Cream until you get the consistency you like.

Clare Cosi’s Crunchy Almond Biscotti

(Easy Food Processor Method)

Clare proudly served these goodies to her esteemed (and beloved) employer, Madame Dreyfus Allegro Dubois. Like the gelato makers of Sicily, Clare developed this recipe with the goal of making the cookie taste exactly like the star ingredient. Bite into these crunchy, twice-baked fingers and the fragrance and flavor of almond will envelop you. Dip them in chocolate and your mouth will believe it’s filled with chocolate-covered almonds.

Makes about 16 finger-sized biscotti

½ cup whole, shelled almonds, skins on

1 egg white

Step 1—Make the dough:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place whole almonds into the food processor and pulse until texture resembles sand. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the bowl and pulse until well mixed. Add egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and oil. Process and/or pulse until a dough forms. Transfer the dough onto a flat surface, knead, and shape into a disc. Add the remaining ½ cup sliced almonds and knead with your hands until the nuts are mixed in.

Step 2—Shape into logs and bake:
Divide the dough in half and roll between your palms to create 2 long cylinders. Place these cylinders onto prepared baking sheet, leaving plenty of room in between, and flatten them, shaping into long rectangles. Brush tops and sides with egg white whisked with a little water. (This helps prevent crumbling when sliced and gives the cookies a nicer crust.) Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes. While warm, the logs are fragile; handle carefully. The best way to transfer them is to
slide the parchment paper
off the pan and onto the cutting board or flat surface. Reduce oven temperature to 300° F.

Step 3—Slice:
Using your sharpest knife, slice the logs on a sharp diagonal into finger-thick cookies, about ½ inch.
No sawing!
Slice down
in one motion to cleanly cut through any crunchy almonds.
Cutting tip: This is often why the cookies crumble at this stage. If you were to saw back and forth on the log or only gently cut, when you hit a hard nut, you’d merely agitate the nut instead of cutting through it and that agitation will crumble the cookie around the nut. So be sure to cut down hard.

Step 4—Add the “bis” to biscotti by baking again:
Reusing your parchment paper, place the cookies on their sides on the baking sheet and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven. The cookies will get crispier and crunchier as they cool. Store in a plastic container. There is no need to refrigerate, but you must allow biscotti to cool completely before storing or the cookies will end up soggy from condensation.

That’s what these deliciously crunchy biscotti will taste like when you dip them in chocolate. Clare likes to dip half the cookie (lengthwise) so chocolate can be tasted in every bite. Simply place 6 ounces of semisweet chocolate, chopped (or chips), and about 1 tablespoon heavy cream into a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 20 seconds and stir, repeating until chocolate is melted. Chocolate burns easily and you do not want to nuke the chocolate until it’s completely melted or you will risk burning it, so take care.

Clare Cosi’s Chocolate-Crusted Banana Bars

“Lovin’ from the oven” is how Matt described these fresh-baked squares, and he was right. The chocolate layer adds a nice twist to the traditional banana bar recipe. Clare adds a bit of earthy espresso powder to that bottom layer as well. Yes, she’s a coffee fiend, but here’s the truth: you won’t taste coffee, only a more powerful note of chocolate. Espresso powder is a baker’s secret to deepening the flavor of chocolate in recipes.

16 squares (from one 9-inch-square pan)

2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 4 large)

¼ cup sour cream

¾ cup canola oil (or cold-pressed coconut oil)

½ cup light brown sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten with fork

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt or ¼ teaspoon table salt

1½ cups all-purpose flour or 1 cup all-purpose flour and ½ cup spelt, amaranth, or whole wheat flour

¼ cup baking cocoa

½ teaspoon espresso powder

½ cup chocolate chips

½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Step 1—Make batter:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line the bottom of an 9-inch-square pan with parchment paper and butter the paper; set aside. Combine bananas and sour cream with a fork. Add in oil, sugar, egg, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until smooth. Add flour and mix until a batter forms.

Step 2—Create chocolate bottom:
Remove 1 cup batter and place in a separate bowl. Add cocoa, espresso powder, chocolate chips, and chopped walnuts, if using, and mix until blended. Be careful to not overwork batter or you’ll develop the gluten in the flour and your bars will be tough instead of tender.

Step 3—Assemble and bake:
Spread the chocolate batter evenly across the bottom of prepared pan. Spoon remaining batter on top, and even out using the back of a spoon. Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Clare’s Billionaire Twinkie Cupcakes

Clare Cosi’s dinner at the Source Club ended with a nasty scene and no dessert, which meant Clare and Eric never had a chance to sample Chef Clarke Harvey’s Billionaire Twinkie. But her hankering for that golden cake with gooey marshmallow crème filling wouldn’t go away, so Clare dug up her old “In the Kitchen with Clare” column recipe for Twinkie Cupcakes and baked them up for the billionaire’s cyber crew. Here’s her recipe, so you can enjoy them, too . . .

Makes 12 cupcakes


1 box yellow cake mix* (see Note below)

1¼ cups water

cup canola oil

4 egg whites (room temperature is best)


6 cups (1 10-oz. bag) mini marshmallows

2 tablespoons corn syrup (or vanilla-flavored corn syrup)

½ cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 tablespoon milk

½ teaspoon vanilla extract (tip: for a whiter filling, use “clear vanilla” extract)

A note on the cake mix: I use Betty Crocker plain yellow cake mix (not butter yellow) for this recipe. This recipe should work with any brand of yellow cake mix. Be sure to pick up a mix that lists oil in the directions and has “pudding in the mix” as a feature. (FYI: When you use oil in a cake recipe, your cake will stay fresher for a longer period of time.)

Step 1—Mix the batter
: Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick spray or line with cupcake liners, and set aside. Into a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, water, and oil. Beat with an electric mixer for about 1 minute until a smooth batter forms. Be sure to scrape down the bowl as you mix. Place in the fridge until you complete the next step.

Step 2—Beat the egg whites:
In a clean and dry glass, metal, or ceramic bowl (do not use plastic, which holds grease), beat egg whites until soft peaks form.

Step 3—Fold the eggs into the batter:
Using an electric mixer on a low speed, fold the egg whites into the cake batter. Do not overbeat—just mix enough to smoothly incorporate the egg whites. You should no longer see white, just the yellow batter.

Step 4—Fill the pan and bake:
Fill each cup with ¼ cup batter. Then go back and add 1 tablespoon more to each cup. Do not fill cups to the top.

This should give you 12 cupcakes with a little batter left over for a 13th cupcake (if you want a baker’s dozen). When you fill the cups as described, they should bake up uniformly with little, golden domes. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer pans to a cooling rack and allow the cupcakes to cool in their pan.

For the filling:

Step 1—Make the marshmallow crème
: Place minimarshmallows into a microwave-safe bowl. Add corn syrup and heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds (adding 15-second increments if needed). Do not completely melt the marshmallows in the microwave. You are watching for them to become very soft. Then stir them up and . . . voilà, you have made marshmallow crème (aka Fluff). Set mixture aside to cool.

No Microwave?
To complete this step without a microwave, simply create a double boiler by placing a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Warm the mini marshmallows and corn syrup, stirring until they’ve melted into marshmallow crème (aka Fluff).

Step 2—Make the filling
: Add the confectioners’ sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla extract. Using an electric mixer, beat filling until smooth and blended, scraping down the bowl as you mix.

Assemble the cupcakes:

Step 1—Make sure the cupcakes don’t stick
: You must fill each cooled cupcake while it rests in the cupcake pan. But . . . first be sure your cupcakes will come out of the pan easily. If you are not using cupcake liners (or a silicone baking pan), gently run a knife around the outside edge of each cupcake to free it gently from the metal pan. Then place it right back into the well.

Step 2—Cut the hole
: Using a small, sharp knife, cut a cone-shaped hole into the top of each cupcake. Remove the cone and fill the hole with the copycat Twinkie filling. The filling is very sticky so lightly coat your spoon with nonstick spray. You can also use a pastry bag for this job. Or, spoon the filling into a Ziploc plastic bag and use a scissors to snip off one corner, which will turn it into a pastry bag.

Step 3—Fill and finish
: Slice off the “top” of your cupcake cone and place it back on the filled cupcake. You can serve the Twinkie Cupcake as is or use some of the filling to frost the top. If you like, as an added garnish, you can crumble the extra crumbs (from the bottom of the cone) over the frosted top. The filling is gooey and delicious. If you prefer a stiffer filling, simply chill the cupcakes in the fridge after filling.

Clare Cosi’s Kahl

(Homemade Coffee Liqueur)

On the night of the Source Club dinner, Matteo Allegro sees that his ex-wife needs something to calm her nerves (and his), so he whips up espresso martinis using Clare’s homemade Kahl
a. This sweet, rum-based coffee liqueur is easy to make. It also makes a lovely gift, and Clare is happy to share her recipe. (Matt’s Espressotini recipe can be found on page 379.)

About 3 cups

2 cups brewed coffee or espresso

1 cup granulated sugar

BOOK: Billionaire Blend (A Coffeehouse Mystery)
12.18Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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